graduate student with the University of Missouri-Rolla remains in
police custody after making an alleged terror threat against the school.
year-old Sujith Venkatramolla was arrested two weeks ago after his
threat forced the evacuation of a campus building and cancelled classes
for a day.
friends and even family members are now pleading with the community to
help a young man who police describe as distraught and depressed. More than a thousand people have signed an online petition for Venkatramolla.
"You have a lot of responsibility as a foreign student. You have to prove that you are financially capable. You also have to go through a lot of regulations, which of course since 9/11 have become even more stringent. It
adds up to quite a bit responsibility and it can be a bit culture shock
and it can be stressful," said Andrew Careaga, director of
communications at UMR.
"We are together as a community. Maybe here or it might be in India," said one of Venkatramolla's supporters, who did not want to be identified.
He and others say prior to the incident, Venkatramolla seemed to be going through some problems.
He goes on to say, "It was a big shock to all of us because we knew him very well. We knew he was a very good student and I think, as he stated, because of his grades he had a lot of mental problems.”
Police say Venkatramolla pulled a knife on investigators and held a bag stating it was a bomb. He also told police he had anthrax.
"The day after the incident occurred, our chancellor held a forum. An
open forum for our campus, in which he discussed the issue, what
happened and explained essentially that the university, the
administrators are there for student support." said Careaga.
an online petition, supporters hope to show others that Venkatramolla
was not a bad person, just a stressed student with a history of chronic
"We basically, want to ask for the help from the Indian Consulate." adds the supporter.
faces charges of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, armed
criminal action, making a false bomb threat along with making a
Venkatramolla’s supporters say they are asking the Indian Embassy, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to look at the circumstances of this case and evaluate Venkatramolla’s mental health. Eventually, they want him deported to India, so he can return to his family.